Bonfire Night is behind us, the John Lewis ad has been on the telly and it can’t be long until you hear that annoying Shakin’ Stevens song. Yes, Christmas is on the way and this Christmas gift guide is for riders who like to ride fast.
These aren't necessarily gifts designed to help someone ride faster but they're things that'll appeal to people who ride with speed and fitness in mind.
Perhaps you’re a racer or a sportive rider and you want to drop some hints to your family and friends. Or maybe there’s a sporty person in your life who rides a bike primarily for fitness.
If so, we’ve got suggestions starting at £12.99, and some priced much more.
Have a look through and see if there’s anything that takes your interest. Even if nothing here quite does it for you, it might give you an idea – in which case you can head over to our reviews archive and check out some more options.
Click on the heading for each of our suggestions and you'll link straight through to somewhere to buy it.
Yes, they’re expensive but Giro's Prolight Techlace Cycling Shoes are ultra-light (just 193g per shoe in a size 46) and they put in a big performance. The Textreme carbon soles are stiff and the uppers are laced, Velcro tabs allowing on-the-fly adjustment to the tension. These shoes might be performance focused but they’re also very comfortable.
Even the most motivated racer needs some extra inspiration from time to time. This book focuses on 36 of cycling's hardest men and women, and rather than dealing with everything that rider achieved, it covers the one defining moment when they implemented Rule #5 (“Harden the fuck up”).
The Stages Dash (which has had a price reduction since we reviewed it) is an impressive device for training by power, particularly if you buy into the coaching aids offered by the Stages Link web platform. It lacks advanced navigational capability but it communicates with both ANT+ and Bluetooth sensors and can let you know exactly what you should be doing at all times during a training session.
If you ride fast you’re going to sweat, and if you sweat you need a base layer that’s good at dealing with it. The Craft Active Extreme 2.0 CN LS puts in a really strong performance to keep you comfortable in temperatures below about 10°C, providing a good level of warmth along with great wicking and breathability.
Stealth Training Mix? It certainly sounds like something for those with a need for speed. This is a slow release carbohydrate and hydration drink mix. Our man Liam tried it and he said that subtle flavours package a well-rounded nutrition profile. It's not sweet or sticky, it mixes well and the scoop fits into a standard cycling bottle.
Training by power is becoming ever more popular for those who want to get the most fitness for their time on the bike, and FSA’s Powerbox, produced in partnership with German company Power2Max, offers a consistent and reliable performance at a not-too-crazy price. Dave did the testing and was highly impressed – easy to install, easy to use, and no reliability issues.
Granted, not many people are giving presents that cost £1,000, but you never know. Now in its third generation, the Wahoo Kickr continues to be one of the best direct-mount smart trainers on the market, providing easy resistance control, superb realism, rock-solid stability, massive 2,000 watt capacity, and easy connectivity to a range of apps from Zwift to TrainerRoad. Serious indoor training tools don't get much better than this.
This is a good aero helmet that doesn’t sacrifice ventilation, Scott having adapted the MIPS (Multi-Impact Protection System) to improve airflow. It comes with bungs to close up the front vents on cold rides or when you want to be even more aero!
You need to get those tyres topped up right for optimal performance! Lezyne's Sport Floor Drive pump uses a new ABS2 head for a leak-free fit on any type of valve without any faffing or changing. It’s a very stable pump that should stand up to years of use and abuse.
The fastest way to get back on the road following a puncture is with a CO2 inflator. Topeak’s Ninja CO2+ is a bottle cage with an inflator kit holder, complete with two 16g CO2 cartridges and Topeak's own Micro AirBooster inflator fixed to the bottom. Two tyre levers are attached to the side of the bottle cage too. It’s a clever little design.
The new Sportful R&D Strato combines a thermal long sleeve jersey and a windproof gilet into one top. Out on the road it provides superb comfort, warmth and breathability. Suitable for temperatures from about 8°C and higher, it’s a great option for spring, autumn and milder winter days.
The Lusso Stripes Gilet takes the basic concept of keeping cold air at bay and turns it into a technical and performance tour de force for reasonable money. It’s windproof and the slim, athletic fit means there’s zero flapping, even when riding downhill at speed. It's packed with tech, performs faultlessly, looks the business and fits in a rear pocket when not in use.
When performance-focused riders aren’t obsessing about producing watts they’re obsessing about saving them, hence the existence of the Pro Vibe Aero Carbon handlebar, designed with aerodynamics in mind. It's a stunning piece of engineering that cheats the wind with Kamm-tail profiled tops and well-thought-out internal cable routing. Even the section of the drop facing the wind has been narrowed into an oval. Admittedly, it’s not cheap.
Speed-freaks can’t let a little thing like the dark stand in the way of training. This excellent light runs for ages and comes with Lezyne's Overdrive mode which you can use like a full beam/dipped beam setup in your car, allowing you to barrel down country lanes as fast as you would in the day and then switch to a less intense setting in the face of oncoming traffic.
Shimano's top-level Dura-Ace R9100 pedals offer loads of security and stability and they're a few grams lighter than the previous version with a wider pedal platform. The bearings are smooth and if any issues do develop you can open up the pedals for servicing. They should last ages.
If you are buying for someone who wants foul-weather, full-length bibs for going fast in, look no further. These are warm and comfortable with multiple panels to keep water out and heat in, while being breathable up top. The multi-density PRO Pursuit 1:1 pad (these are also available without a pad for £129.99) feels great in use, so there’s nothing to distract from cranking up the watts. These put in an excellent performance.
These Rudy Project Fotonyk glasses are perfect for riding at any time of the year thanks to their photochromic lenses changing from clear to dark in reaction to lighting levels. They offer great optics and comfort and they don’t fog up, even at the end of a hard, steamy interval, thanks to a cutout at the top outer corner of each lens. These are a joy to wear.
People who like to ride fast need to put the right fuel in the tank, hence these Anytime flapjacks that are made from natural ingredients. As the name suggests, they’re intended for anytime of the day as well as for before and during exercise – a healthy snack to grab between meals. Reviewer Jez said that they’re “tasty, even moreish”.
If the person you’re buying for is going on a training camp, this mid-priced hard box will keep their bike safe when they fly. It’s easy to pack, simple to move around and, most important of all, it’s tough and strong.
These wheels are light (1,360g), stiff and well built and they offer a decent braking performance, even in the wet. The 38mm-deep rims give a bit of an aero advantage without being a handful when it gets windy. Eight hundred quid isn't exactly small change but it's not expensive for a set of carbon, tubeless-ready wheels either.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.